Fine Motor Activities for Home

Fine motor skills are important to work on with preschoolers.  Fine motor skills are those activities that involve the small muscles in your hands, fingers and thumb.   These muscles help children learn how to zip, snap, and button to complete self-help skills like independent dressing.  They are also important for feeding, serving, and pouring, and as the child develops, the fine motor skills develop so that the child can write and cut with scissors.

At Wee Disciples Preschool we provide our preschoolers with activities and opportunities to develop age appropriate fine motor skills.   Sensory activities such as water play, digging and scooping in sand/coffee grounds/rice/pasta/beans, and play-dough play can help to develop fine motor skills.   Toys such as Legos, Unifix cubes, stacking cups, puzzles, counting bears, etc. help to develop small muscle skills.   It may be play to the child, but it is this play that helps develop these small muscles.

Preschool is also a wonderful time to introduce art experiences that will contribute to fine motor development.    Painting with various objects, gluing, tearing, cutting and coloring will build skills in the Fine Motor area.  Any way that you can encourage a child to draw and “write” just leads to improved fine motor skills.

The following are examples of fine motor activities to try with your child at home.

1.  Play-dough Play—Making your own play dough is a fun activity at home.
To make the Wee Disciples Play dough recipe just combine:  2 1/2 Cups flour,  1/2 cup salt, 2 pkgs. unsweetened Kool-Aid, 2 cups boiling water, 2 Tablespoons oil.  Food coloring can be added to brighten the color.  Knead as dough cools.   Add flour if too sticky.    After cooled place in a plastic zip lock bag and seal.
Encourage your child to create objects or add to the fun with straws, rocks, small plastic animals, cookie cutters, scissors, rolling pin, plastic fork, etc.  Kneading, pinching, pulling, patting, rolling, and cutting the dough will strengthen fine motor muscles.
There are many other play dough, slime, and silly putty recipes available online.   Try some different recipes and have fun!
2.  Water play in the bath tub or sink is really fun for children of all ages.   Here are some ideas for home:
-Kids love to help wash the dishes in the sink after meal times.   I like to add soap to water in our water table at Wee Disciples Preschool.   Fill the sink with soapy water and a sponge and let your child “pretend” to wash like mom and dad.  They can wash cups/dishes/etc. or wash a toy like a plastic baby or toy vehicle.
-Adding food coloring to water makes the water play fun.. fill the sink with water and put in a few drops of food coloring.   Let the child use measure cups, laddles, cups, jars, etc to scoop, fill, and pour.
3.  Shaving Cream play is so fun for preschoolers.   Spray some shaving cream on the side of the bath tub and let your child use his/her finger to “write” or draw on the side of the the tub.  Another idea is to spray a small amount of shaving cream on a tray or mat on a “safe’ surface/table and let your child explore rubbing it around the tray.   Encourage your child to use his/her finger to draw a shape or “write” a letter or a word.   After the child is done with the shape they can just rub over the shaving cream and start again.   Shaving cream is easily wiped or washed off of hands/arms and trays with water.   Add some additional fun to shaving cream play by giving your child a tool to use like a fork or tongue depressor.
Check back in tomorrow for some more Fine Motor activities to try with your preschooler.
Karen Rohrer
Director / Teacher
Wee Disciples Preschool